Williams equals record in Welsh victory romp

Japan 10 Wales 64
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The Independent Online

Shane Williams revelled in his chance to write his name in the history books during the Welsh rout of Japan here yesterday. The Neath man, whose four tries equalled the Welsh Test record, said: "I had a lot of chances to run with the ball which was nice. We had been working for two weeks on getting the ball to the wings and we managed that today. The Japanese defended quite well and I think we made it look easier than it actually was out there. We had such a good first-half that we were shattered going into the second half."

The Welsh made a poor start to their tour ­ they lost to Suntory and struggled to beat a Japanese select XV ­ but Williams said the squad's confidence is now restored. "Psychologically we were dealt a blow against Suntory. It was hard against the Select XV as well. But we went up about 50 per cent in our performance [against Japan] and now we will go into the last two games on a high."

Gareth Thomas got the Welsh ball rolling as early as the fourth minute when he latched on to a tap through to touch down. Mark Jones then doubled the try count, capitalising after Geraint Lewis, the man of the match, had cleverly split the Japanese defence with a chip. Stephen Jones converted both touchdowns to give the tourists an early 14-0 lead.

Kevin Morgan then scored the try of the match, racing the length of the field to pick up his own long kick and dive underneath the posts. Williams then came into his element, touching down twice before the break.

Further first-half tries from the debutants Adrian Durston and Andy Lloyd, as well as Morgan's second of the game, gave Wales a 52-0 half-time lead. But Japan came out for the second half with renewed vigour and Luantangi Vaturei and Takeomi Ito both grabbed tries. However, Williams ran in a further two tries to claim a share of the Test record jointly held by Willie Llewellyn, Reggie Gibbs, Maurice Richards, Ieuan Evans and Nigel Walker.

"We started off disappointingly against Suntory, but we went up a few levels today," Lewis said. "It was surprising how easy it was in the first half, but that was due to the level of our performance. That was the main thing, as well as keeping possession and momentum."

Japan: Tries: Vaturei, Ito. Wales: Tries: S Williams 4, K Morgan 2, Gareth Thomas, M Jones, A Lloyd, A Durston. Conversions: Stephen Jones 7.

Japan: Matsuada; Kurihara, Motoki, Oto, Tuidoraki; Onishi, Murata; Hasegatawa, Sakata (capt), Toyoama, Vaturei, Tanuma, Ito, Sugawara, Saito. Replacements: Iawabuchi for Matsuda 19; Namba for Onishi 67; Murata for Sonoda 67.

Wales: K Morgan (Swansea); M Jones (Llanelli), Gareth Thomas, A Durston (both Bridgend), S Williams (Neath); Stephen Jones (Llanelli), G Cooper (Bath); I Thomas (Ebbw Vale), A Lewis (Cardiff), C Anthony (Newport), C Quinnell (Cardiff), A Moore (Swansea, capt), A Lloyd (Bath), Gavin Thomas (Bath), G Lewis (Swansea). Replacements: N Budgett (Bridgend) for Moore 37; J Ringer (Bath) for Lloyd 40; G Henson (Swansea) for Morgan 60; Steve Jones (Neath) for A Lewis 60; B Evans (Swansea) for Anthony 68; J Robinson (Cardiff) for Gareth Thomas 75; Lloyd for Quinnell 75.

Referee: R Dickson (Scotland).